Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada where she divides her time between a piano, a camera, and word-processing program when she’s not planning for the impending zombie apocalypse.
Courtney Summers' new book, Fall For Anything, is to be released December 21/2010, by St. Martin's Press. Courtney is represented by Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency.
CS: Welcome to Musings, Courtney. Tell us about Fall for Anything. How was your story birthed? What was your motivation?
Courtney Summers: Fall for Anything is a contemporary YA novel about a girl named Eddie, who is trying to find out the reason why her father killed himself. She meets a young man named Culler, who seems to hold the key to the mystery surrounding her father's death and an instant and dangerous attraction begins... [this is where the ominous music goes!]
I'm quite fascinated with grief and loss and that inescapable reality of losing people and how we cope with it when we do. I'm interested in the questions that kind of loss inspires. I like to write to make sense of it, but usually I just end up with more questions! In this case, all those questions became a book. But I think it's important to ask them out loud, so that was my motivation for writing Fall for Anything.
CS: What messages/life lessons did you wish to teach your readers in Fall For Anything?
Courtney Summers: Honestly, when I write, my goal is to be as honest with myself and as true to my characters and their situations as possible. What messages people take away from my books, what they feel they've learned from them--if anything--is entirely up to them.
CS: Looking back on the writing of Fall for Anything, is there anything you would have done differently?
Courtney Summers: Fall for Anything was a tough book to write, and there are certainly times I wish it had been easier, but that's true for all of my books! If I was given the opportunity to change something, I don't think I could. As they stand, I can look at each one of my books and remember where I was at mentally when I wrote it, what was going on in my life at the time. It's a snapshot of where I was at as a writer as well. I want to preserve that.
CS: What part of writing is easiest for you? And the hardest?
Courtney Summers: Oooh! This is a hard question because that varies from book to book. More often than not (but occasionally not!), the beginning, starting a novel, is the easiest part of writing. You get all caught up with the idea. It's the honeymoon stage! Then you hit the middle. The middle, sorting everything out, is the hardest part of writing for me for me. That, and the last line. I always want to get the last line exactly right.
CS: What advice would you give aspiring authors about getting into the game? What do you know now that you wish you knew back when you started in the business?
Courtney Summers: I would tell them to be prepared to get rejected A LOT. That's pretty much a given, but some people really don't anticipate how hard it can be when you start submitting and getting turned down. Perseverance is REALLY key. It's also critical not to let anyone talk them out of writing. Some people think writing is a frivolous pursuit and actively discourage you from doing it. If you love it and it makes you happy, don't stop. One thing I wish I'd known before getting into this business was how it moves on its own time! Sometimes things move reaaaaaalllllly slowly and other times they move incredibly fast. It's a bit of a rollarcoaster. :)
CS: What was the wisest thing about writing that was ever said to you?
Courtney Summers: Family and friends told me to just go straight at it. And I try to do that every time I sit down to write.
CS: Tell us about your next book.
Courtney Summers: I'm a bit superstitious--it's in such early stages, all I can comfortably say is that a 4th book by me is in the works. :)
Thank you, Courtney, for doing this interview, and good luck with Fall For Anything. And have a very Merry Christmas!